Memorial Day, Remember Peace

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“May God have mercy for my enemies because I won’t.”
― George S. Patton Jr.

 

I grew up in a family full of men in the service. A grandfather, three brothers, three uncles and at least one cousin served in the military. They served during peace time as well as wartime. None of them died in the service, but my grandfather was left for dead after being gassed in WWI. His Brother William died during the war due to the influenza outbreak. My wife’s great Uncle also served. I have also known many others who have served so willingly in our nation’s armed forces. I can’t count how many, but I do enjoy listening to them all.

I remember one person talking about riding in a tank in France during WWII and peeking out of the top to get a better view. He had his helmet shot off and never peeked out again. Another person I knew about the same time had a lot of cuss words for those in tanks because they drew the gun fire in their direction. Then there were others who just couldn’t talk about anything that happened. It was just too hard for them to do so.

I remember one of the stories of my grandfather while he was in France. He was out scouting the enemy and along a river he saw a German soldier getting a drink from the stream. The German soldier didn’t see my grandfather until he looked up and knew he was a goner. Yet my grandfather did not shoot. He waved to the German soldier and walked on. The German soldier repaid the kindness by walking in the other direction.

When I was growing up one of those brothers got me some army men and I played with them for hours on end. I read many, many books on WWII, the Civil war and the Revolutionary war. I really enjoyed reading the history of wars. I loved the strategy and even the ironic or funny things that happen during war. Did you know that the first British ship sunk in WWII was sunk by the British? There is some useless trivia for you.   I thought war could be so glorious. I looked up to the heroes of the wars. The leaders like Washington, Patton, Grant, etc…

Today I really want the end to war. There is no glory in war. My grandfather had no arguments with the Germans. It was the governments that couldn’t get along. I have no qualms with Muslims. I don’t want to fight them and for the most part, they don’t want to fight me. I don’t want to fight the Russians, or the Chinese, or the people in Somalia. There is no one in this world I want to fight, but unfortunately there are some that think fighting is the answer and against those we most likely will have to fight against.

Bertrand Russell once said, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” War is not the answer to this world’s problems and solves little. John Steinbeck also said “All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” I feel it is just the playground bully on the world’s stage. Nobody stood up to them before so now we have to stand up to him with tanks and bombs.  I hope there is never war again.  I don’t want anyone else dying for my freedom, but I am not that optimistic when I look around the world, or even down the street.  There are just too many people who think that fighting is the way to get their way.

So, until there is no war, I’m glad we have men and women serving us across the world. I’m also glad that we have men and women who have fought for our freedom through the centuries. Those that have fought for freedom around the world and stand up against those world bullies that think fighting is something that OK. Thank you to all those out there who have sacrificed their time, energy and lives to doing what has to be done no matter how difficult it can be. May your lives be filled with peace and love.

“Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one”

John Lennon

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To All My Moms, Thanks!

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“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love.”

~ Mildred B. Vermont

 

I have had many mothers in my life. My birth mother of course, but as I grew and moved and married, other mothers had a hand in my life as well.

Mother Patrick was the first of the other mothers. She was my pastor’s wife and she took me under her wing and helped me grow spiritually as well as mentally when I was just a teenager.   I spent so many nights at the Patrick’s house because their son was my age. We were like family. She always believed in me and encouraged me. She told me how proud she was of me. Since we don’t live in the same state, we don’t see each other much anymore but she is always with me.

Mother Hand was another mom who took me under her wing. Only in a different way. Her son and I roomed in college. During some of college they lived nearby so we spent time there and after graduation, I couldn’t always make it home for the holidays, but I always had the Hand home to go to. Even when their son wasn’t there, I was. That love still lives with me.

Mother Van Cise is another mom in my life. She also has kids my age and when I moved to the area, 600 miles from home and an hour away from anyone else I knew, she and her husband showed me the kindness that goes beyond measure. Always encouraging, and sweet, she was the epitome of love.

I came across this quote as I was writing this blog: “An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.” ~ Spanish Proverb. I thought this was quite ironic since all the women above are pastor’s wives.   But, I think the quote is so true. Theology doesn’t teach you how to behave, but mothers do.   How many sermons do you remember? But I bet you remember the love a mother gives you.

Then I got married and found another mother. My mother-in-law. You know those evil mother-in-law stories and jokes? They don’t apply here. My mother-in-law has been great to us and has always treated me as a son. She has lived with us for about 10 years and we have barely had any problems. She is always been there through whatever good or bad we have gone through in the past. I can truthfully say I have the best mother-in-law in the world!

I have to save the best for last, my birth mom. Obviously I wouldn’t be who I am without her. She is where I get my love for kids from and my kid nature. I’m just a big kid and often would rather play games with kids than do things with adults, except they wear me out. I remember mom coming to my concerts and ball games. I would always look for her and dad, never happy until I saw her smiling face. I remember once I had a trio and I did not tell mom. When the concert was over and she asked why, I lied and told her that I wasn’t sure if I was going to do it or not. Really I did not want any pressure on me because I did not want to disappoint her. I thought that if she knew she’d be all excited and if I’d mess up she’d be disappointed. That was just stupid middle school thinking. She would never be really disappointed in me. She loves me unconditionally.  I know that even if I am not the perfect son that her love for me will never go away. Her love stays with me each moment of my life.

“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein

In my life it has been both.  Happy Mothers day to all of you!

Ten things I am thankful for and a few I’m not.

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10) That I don’t shop on black Friday.  Don’t know why anyone would put themselves through that pain when you can sleep in.  I personally find all the commercialism disgraceful to the holidays that surround it. Sorry to start with a Grumpy cat moment.

9) Being stupid.  If it wasn’t for my mistakes I’d have never learned.  I’d be more of an idiot than I am now.

8) People who make me think.  Whether these are professors, friends, authors etc… I am always glad to stretch my mind with new or different thoughts.  People who simply give the basic answers that seem to simply be programmed into their beliefs or thought bore me.  So the next time I ask you how you are feeling, tell me Squirrel! Or better yet, peanut butter.

7) Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter Pie,  PB & J, Reese’s cups, Peanut butter cookies, Peanut butter chicken, and anything else that has peanut butter in.  I must give one “wag of the finger” to Dairy Queen.  They discontinued the Reese’s Piece’s Blizzard.  I can never forgive you.

6) Grace.  Not just my Grandma.  (Her name was Grace)  The Grace of God and the grace from others when I mess up is something I could never say thank you enough for.  It means so much to me that there are those that care so much.

5) My friends that are always there when I need you.  Those who listen to me, do things for me, have my back, and put up with my ……………  Ah there is so much I can put in that you put up with.    I don’t know what I would do without you.

4) My cats.  All 6 of them, Jack, Einstein, Spyder, Mao, Icky, and Rosie.  Though they wake me up at all hours of the night, fight over my lap, cost me mega amounts of money, eat or lick everything plastic, they bring me so much love.  How can you ever be angry when you have a cat curled up on your lap?

3) My family.  Even though we fight, have disappointments, differences in opinions, etc…  I still love you so much and care for you deeply.  I may not be the favorite (inside joke) but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is how special each and every one of you is to me.

2) My parents, who taught me so much and whom I am so like.  The older I get the more I think how much I am like them.  Especially like dad, corny jokes and all.  They gave me love for kids, reading, learning, God, and family among other things.  Without them I’d never have become the person that I am now.  Love you so much Mom and Dad!

1) My wife.  What can I say here?  She has been such a support in our 10 ½ years of marriage.  I’d be lost without her.  Even though she has been through so much physically and mentally over the past few years she has always been there for me.  She is the rattlesnake to my elephant.  Don’t think anyone else could have put up with me the way she has.  She certainly deserves a few Halos.  Love you!

Honorable mention:  My church family.  I have not been attending for very long, but you make me feel loved.  The Yankees, even though my wife is always glad when they are eliminated. My job, it is so much fun I can’t believe I get paid to work with those kids!

So what are you thankful for?